Activision investing $500 million for Bungie's Destiny

That figure covers the game's development budget, marketing costs, and other various expenditures.

Activision will spend $500 million--half a billion dollars--on development and marketing for Bungie's upcoming "shared-world" shooter, Destiny. CEO Bobby Kotick revealed the figure during the Milken conference recently, as reported by Reuters.

In addition to development costs, the $500 million figure includes marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties, and "other costs," a spokesperson for Activision confirmed.

How does that stack up with other AAA games? Analysts estimated the Grand Theft Auto V total budget (including development, production, and marketing) at $260 million. However, directly comparing GTAV and Destiny is somewhat problematic.

For one, Destiny is expected to unfold over the period of 10 years, while GTAV was a single release. An Activision spokesperson also explained that the company's investment in the game's engine, as well as a "robust backend infrastructure," are upfront costs that they expect should help reduce future development costs. "Over the long term, we expect the ultimate product costs to be roughly in line with other AAA titles," the Activision representative said.

GTAV generated $1 billion in revenue in three days and has shipped over 32.5 million copies to date.

No matter how you look at the $500 million figure, however, it's obvious that Activision is making a big bet on Destiny. A total budget that large dwarfs other video games and movies. "If you're making a $500 million bet you can't take that chance with someone else's IP," Kotick said. "The stakes for us are getting bigger."

Analysts explained that Activision will need to sell between 15 million and 16 million copies of Destiny to break even. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said this will be a tough task. "It's a head scratcher," Bhatia said. "For brand new IP, it's tough but it could post a big surprise."

Activision's significant investment in Destiny should come as no surprise. After all, the company said earlier this year that it expects Destiny to become Activision Publishing's third billion-dollar franchise, joining Call of Duty and Skylanders. Activision Blizzard subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment also has major franchises in its portfolio, including World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and now Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Destiny launches September 9 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. A beta for the game begins this summer, first on PlayStation platforms.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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183 comments
topparrish
topparrish

I remember Activision's Knight Rider on NES.  Gaming has came alone way and it's cool to have grown up and live through the golden era of gaming.  Bring on the games and the fanboy hateraid.  My favorite flavor is purple LOL!  Fun stuff

fan360
fan360

It competes its own game, CoD.


I don't see how it is gonna help.

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

Investments in gaming flying around half a billion dollars... These times sure are different from my childhood. What worries me though is that "The stakes for us are getting bigger." That usually means playing safe to reduce risks, an OBVIOUS choice given the size of the investment, but reducing risks also mean less room for new ideas and innovation, and bigger focus on what already "works". Personally, lately I have been switching AAA by indie games (no hipster) for exactly that reason: I can't take the current "safe" anymore, you may not know the character's names or the plot, but you know exactly how it'll play out just by a trailer, and predicability is the ultimate road to boredom, which clearly defeats the purpose of playing a video game in my opinion. The game concept seems really good to me, but until I see risks being taken towards delivering an innovative game, I'll remain skeptical about Destiny, even more because it's on Activion's hands.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

Just as a note for future people making comments about how $500 million for one game is a lot...


"Activision Blizzard Inc intends to spend $500 million developing and promoting "Destiny," potentially breaking industry records as it seeks to build the sci-fi role-playing videogame into its next multibillion-dollar franchise."


Source: that Reuters article this one links to. Much more clearly worded than the article here, as you can see, and makes it apparent that this is NOT money spent on the game releasing later this year, they have PLANNED to use the money on the FRANCHISE,

quakke
quakke

Un-interesting generic crap comming. Gonna stay far away from it.

mos2000
mos2000

Half a billion F#$%^'N dollars for one....damn....game.  We're talking Exxon oil investment prices now. No wonder why the world of AAA titles is in such disarray...

Thank goodness for indies ... and PC 

rad8045
rad8045

Activision scoping out there next cash cow I see ?

TacticaI
TacticaI

The COD budget must pale by comparison then, considering those near photo realistic graphics. This just makes me curious about a ''Season Pass'' or DLC and micro-transactions. 

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

Please....please....let it fail. I'm soooooooo sick of Activision....

bdrtfm
bdrtfm

If Activision is investing 500 million bucks and is pretty much covering the cost of everything to do with this game, wtf was the need for Bungie partnering with Sony in such a way as to make it seem the Xbox version is nothing but an afterthought? Greed is the only answer I can think of.  I've yet to see a single mention of Xbox in relation to this game coming from Activision or Bungie. Except for the "Who's ignoring you?" tweet, I've seen nothing but indifference and an FU attitude from them when it comes to Xbox. You'd almost think this was a Sony exclusive.


I get that they want to get their name known with Sony fans but, there are some casual gamers who are surprised when they find out this game will be on Xbox as well. Seems counter-productive as far as marketing is concerned.

naomha1
naomha1

Damn. Destiny will have to sell about 10 million copies just to break even. While I'm sure they can and just possibly might, that is a hell of a gamble on a brand new IP.  

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

I have this game preordred and I'm really looking forward to this. That being said I think I am looking forward to The Division, The Witcher, MGS and Uncharted more. But I will play the crap out of this game. I do wish that it had an end. I like beating games. Does anyone know if you are going to have to pay a subscription fee?

jOmOmbO
jOmOmbO

WoW is dying so they want to invest all of our WoW subscription money into a game that has potential to flop. They are desperate to keep their money income alive and strong. This means nothing to me.

daviz88
daviz88

there have been many great games

HALO

BATTLEFIELD

TITAN FALL

but all have come out short ,could you be the chosen one to break the streak? the one to beat COD

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I really think Activision are really overdoing it this time. This is a huge commitment for a brand new IP.

Don't forget Activision, you don't own Bungie, so you can't simply fire the studio heads in order to avoid paying royalties this time around. :oP

wookiegr
wookiegr

They want to blind people with fancy marketing from the fact that this game is Halo's and Defiance's baby.

ishsgames
ishsgames

Knowing Activision...about $450 million went towards advertising.......ok maybe thats' a bit of an exaggeration but Bungie would do a great job regardless if they have a Triple A budget or not

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Here we go again, another AAA title with a bloated budget that will need to sell a completely unrealistic amount of copies to become profitable.


Additionally, it's an MMO, so it has twice the chance of flopping.

rexpowercolt
rexpowercolt

Came for the PC elitist bitching, leaving not dissapointed

harndoogle
harndoogle

Bungie is in serious trouble.  Because frankly, from what i've seen, the game just doesn't look that fun.   They keep saying its not an MMO, but a "Shared world shooter."  The problem with that is. The MMO elements would actually be helping.  If all there is to the game is exploration and combat, then its going to fail.  Thats just not enough.  What about a crafting system. What about a job system. Thats what makes MMO's fun. Thats what immerses you, makes you feel you have a purpose in the world.  And i think that, since bungie has done so many shooters, they've completely missed that point.  But i'm calling it now.  If this game comes down to simple Exploration and Combat, its going to bomb, big time.  They might eventually be able to patch in a job system, or put it in with an expansion. 


Games like this need to be able to make me come back. I want to go out exploring, looking for resources that i can bring back and melt down and makes something out of. 

Because in all honesty, People want to do more then just shoot things.

botroo3
botroo3

They are planning to spend the $500 million over a period of 10 years, the game you are buying next September budget is only a small fraction of that.

frigginjoe
frigginjoe

"See we told you next gen development was expensive!  Now preorder and buy the season passes and all that DLC that somehow we didn't put in the season pass, so we know we're successful before you ever tried the game!"

jameson420
jameson420

So COD mixed with Halo, no thanks. Not only that but this is an MMOFPS and I have to earn the right to play/unlock Multiplayer? This game is getting worse instead of better, I hate Activision. I guess Planetside 2 will be the only FPS to play since BF4 is a fucking Joke and looking like Destiny is heading in that direction.. IMO of course, I want this game to do good but Activision is evil...

Fursnake
Fursnake

Holy ScHmIdT! You think for that much money they could have gone ahead and thrown in a PC version. :P

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

Damn. A lot is getting put into this. Hope it lives up to the hype. Bungie hasn't disappointed me yet, 

TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

Gotta spend money, to make money..... Don't screw it up!

Blazen702
Blazen702

This smells like they are cooking the books so they can claim a huge loss of $500 million when tax season rolls around.

Dark_Wr4ith
Dark_Wr4ith

Half a Billion, that is ambitious, I think the success of CoD has gone a little too much to their heads. But who cares really, if they lose all their money and go under, that will mean no more CoD! 

dellers
dellers

Sounds incredibly much for what looks like another generic shooter. Anyway, no wonder the new COD is more expensive than any other game if they have to make up for the cost of this game. COD: AW goes for 449 NOK while Watch Dogs and every other game goes for 349. Ridiculous.

Blazen702
Blazen702

They better market this because when everyone realizes this is online only and a mmo rpg some might not be to happy. Everyone bitched and moaned that Titanfall was online only but then again those were probably sony trolls as I'm sure they will be way up destiny's ass since they have nothing to play on the Crapstation4

colbster
colbster

@fan360 As long as they don't launch the same week there's no problem.

valknight
valknight

@fan360 this isnt gonna be like cod its gonna be more like borderlands. But its we shall see soon I hope.

valknight
valknight

@quakke oh good one.. perhaps you could go pla quake.. that was so innovative and non-generic.. pfffft

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@naomha1  But they know the word "Bungie" alone will make a lot of sales. Also, this is money Activision "intends to spend." They haven't spend it yet

hystavito
hystavito

@naomha1  In the article analysts estimated it would need to sell 15-16 million to break even.

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

@daviz88  Someone that doesn't know, when reading "the one to beat CoD", will think that is an amazing game/series. The truth is that, not only it has a gigantic machine at it's back, consumers are morons more times than not.


Just look at the amount of people that buy anything that Apple releases at day one, just because it's Apple. To need that or not is totally irrelevant. I believe that, if Apple put their logo on a smelling turd (literal), it will sell like crazy.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@ishsgames  "Went"? They are PLANNING to spend 500 million bucks on the FRANCHISE.

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

@harndoogle  There is crafting in the game. There's upgrade systems for both weapons and gear. There's exploration, combat, story, multiple different game modes... read up on it more. There's a ton more than just exploration and combat. 


Specifically. 


"I want to go out exploring, looking for resources that i can bring back and melt down and makes something out of. "


You can do that, so yeah... You can even break down weapons you don't want to use towards others you do want.

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

@Blazen702  

Go & gargle sweaty hobo balls, troll. Douchnozzles like you are a fucking infected boil on the arse of the gaming industry. Self entitled retarded little cunts who have somehow gotten it into their heads that someone is less of a human being for buying a fucking video game console. GROW THE FUCK UP.

mos2000
mos2000

@DawnBlue @mos2000By all accounts, they are talking about this single title, not future installments.  They compare similar figures to GTA V - alone (260MM).  Plus when talking about just the first Destiny game the following is quoted:


"Analysts explained that Activision will need to sell between 15 million and 16 million copies of Destiny to break even."

It looks as if this was invested just one game my friend, according to this article.

Blazen702
Blazen702

Yes it does. A lot more then PS. PS4 has maybe 3 AAA games while Xbox one has Ryse, Titanfall, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, Deadrising, Forza 5, Project Spark, Killer Imstinct, Fighter Within, Crimson Dragon to name a few and PS has Knack, Killzone and infamous. Yea I think X1 wins this argument.

valknight
valknight

@mos2000 @DawnBlue "For one, Destiny is expected to unfold over the period of 10 years, while GTAV was a single release. An Activision spokesperson also explained that the company's investment in the game's engine, as well as a "robust backend infrastructure," are upfront costs that they expect should help reduce future development costs. "Over the long term, we expect the ultimate product costs to be roughly in line with other AAA titles," the Activision representative said."


cause all single iterations of games unfold over ten years..

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

@Blazen702  lmao Sigh. Well, this is where our conversation ends. Don't expect a reply back if you continue. :P

Blazen702
Blazen702

Titanfall is exclusive to Microsoft hence it is only on xbox and windows by MS and I didn't even mention halo Spartan wars and yes project spark is only MS. You mention games for PS yet they aren't out yet. Nice try though.

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

@Blazen702  Fine, I'll indulge you. Titanfall isn't an exclusive. Doesn't count. Project Spark? Same. Plants vs Zombie, also coming to PC next month. So we're left with 6 exclusive titles for the Xbox One, yes?


Knack, Killzone, Infamous, MLB: The Show, Bound by Flame ( it's coming out in 3 days so if you don't count that one then, whatever ). So, I haven't got 1 title to match yours. Though if I wanted to I could probably. This is more effort than I felt like expending though. lol

Blazen702
Blazen702

Yea right. So basically you chimed in on a post you had nothing to do with because you thought u were correct but now that you're wrong you just play it off like you don't care? Just prove my point a lil more you troll. GTFO

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

@Blazen702  Jesus christ, fucking calm your rockets. I'm busy around the house, instead of some people who sit on forums waiting for a response like a sad little person. Waiting to pounce on anything any one says against your precious Xbox. lmao Wow. Anyways... Actually, I'm not going to bother. You seem a little too pathetic, and I can already see where this is gonna go.

Blazen702
Blazen702

I'm waiting? Or do you feel stupid now because all those games are out already? Your head is so far up Sony's ass you don't know what's what.

Blazen702
Blazen702

Wow you're an idiot. All these games are out already

Blazen702
Blazen702

Every game I listed has launched already

Blazen702
Blazen702

Ok list the games? And not indies. I'm talking AAA games made by a AAA developer. I'm waiting

raydawg2000
raydawg2000

@Blazen702  If your going to conveniently list games for Xbone that are unreleased while at the same time leave games off the PS4 list that ARE out as well as unreleased games...then yes i suppose XBone does win YOUR horribly biased argument.